Persevere and Rejoice!
Lord, when trials come my way, grant me wisdom from above.
Read James 1:1–11
James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations:
Trials and Temptations
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
9 Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. 10 But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower. 11 For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Although this night brings darkness to the spirit, it does so in order to illumine it and give it light” (John of the Cross, 1542-1591).
Whose Christian testimony most inspires you? We often cherish stories of how Christians triumphed through suffering. Their “dark nights of the soul” did not overwhelm them but instead magnified the light, joy and hope of Christ. Testimonies of persevering through—and even rejoicing in the midst of—pain give us hope and encouragement as we work out our own faith.
Sometimes these stories rebuke us by making us aware of our own
apprehension at the prospect of suffering. Let’s face it: rejoicing in trials is not natural. However, James does not ask us to enjoy suffering but rather to rejoice in what God is doing in and through us in all circumstances, even the most painful. When illness, bereavement, opposition or troubles of all kinds find us, we must choose to depend solely on God’s help, and he will never, ever let us down. In fact, God even offers his wisdom to help us (5). Joy (2), a mature faith and the complete satisfaction of God (4) are the blessings of those who persevere. What amazing promises!
James juxtaposes this truth with the futility of trusting in worldly riches. This has always been one of the biggest temptations for Christians. Wealth may in fact bring worldly security, confidence and status, but the apostle Paul assures us it is like garbage compared to the incomparable, eternal riches in Christ (Phil. 3:8). Trusting in our riches makes us double-minded.
Are we worried that God doesn’t really understand our needs or that he will deprive us of the things we truly value? If so, then we will only half-heartedly ask for God’s wisdom in difficult circumstances! We would rather trust our own wisdom. It seems only natural that we may want to be healthy, wealthy and secure, but we may also be placing an unwarranted degree of dependence on what is temporal.
What is your present experience? Do you prize joy, spiritual maturity, godly wisdom and satisfaction in God more than worldly comfort?
Lord, I realize that You are working into me only what pleases You.
Give me this awareness during my next test.
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